Balancing your mental health with responsibilities of adulthood.
Motivation. Too many times in life people say those words just do it. As you may have experienced in your life, it is not that simple. Setting a goal, working towards it, and accomplishing noteworthy objectives is admirable. However, what do you do when your engine starts to sputter and you are utterly exhausted.
Many times we see on social media messages of push forward even when you're down. Nonetheless, pushing yourself beyond your limits can backfire. We thought back to a time, pre-covid, that we pushed forward when we should have stopped. We had an outpatient procedure that required us to be put under anesthesia. A procedure that was scheduled for 2 pm turned into a 5-hour wait because the doctor was behind. We finally got into the surgical room at 7 pm. Keep in mind, it was a weekday with work the next morning at 8 am.
The procedure went well except for being ill from the anesthesia. This issue out of recovery kept us in the hospital until midnight.
Usually, this would be a perfect reason to take a sick day. Nevertheless, our push-forward attitude would not allow us to rest. We got up, still groggy and feeling ill, got dressed, and went to work. We worked an 8-hour shift and honestly, it was a mistake. Even people at work couldn't understand why we wouldn't take a sick day.
The weight of the world
Growing up in instability and with trauma meant we are petrified of failure. We were taught to push our limits. Our health and safety came second to whoever is demanding something from us. This mentality puts a heavyweight on your shoulders of perfectionism and shame if you make a mistake.
This habitual push puts stress on your body and mind. That little voice in your head says you are worthless simply for taking care of your wellbeing.
Just doing it is inspiring for some, but for us, it is riddled with emotions of shame and fear of failure.
Changing the narrative
To find motivation and feel accomplishment we started using a task tracker to show how much time we spend each day on work, school, and household affairs. We learned that things like paying bills or responding to email were not even on our checklist. We discounted them like they didn't matter. Everything you do matters!
After using the tracker for 1 month we realized we are productive! Sometimes the feelings you have do not march with reality. Feelings are not facts. Instead of looking at our to-do list with fear, we began to give credit for the small things and large things alike.
On a bad day, if all you can do is answer the phone or pay a bill, that is enough. If you write a short story or take a school final exam that is enough. Humanity discredits things that seem insignificant, but that results in innate an inferiority complex and loss of self-worth.
Just do it...if you can
Instead of blanket statements like just do it. We prefer to say if you can make it happen, do it. If it needs to wait, wait for it. If you decide it is no longer important and it can be removed from your checklist, cross it out. Your mental and physical health is far more valuable than another person's demands. It can be cumbersome with work or with school to set limits. However, you have control over what you accept and what you don't. Life is a negotiation and you are in charge.
We learned that saying no, setting limits, and taking the time for self-care is the best option for productivity and happiness.
Life is a banquet, so enjoy it!